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Captain Beefheart


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Captain Beefheart Doc At The Radar Station album cover
4.08 | 118 ratings | 8 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hot Head (3:23)
2. Ashtray Heart (3:25)
3. A Carrot Is as Close as a Rabbit Gets to a Diamond (1:38)
4. Run Paint Run Run (3:40)
5. Sue Egypt (2:57)
6. Brickbats (2:40)
7. Dirty Blue Gene (3:51)
8. Best Batch Yet (5:02)
9. Telephone (1:31)
10. Flavor Bud Living (1:00)
11. Sheriff of Hong Kong (6:34)
12. Making Love to a Vampire With a Monkey on My Knee (3:11)

Total Time: 38:52

Line-up / Musicians

- Don Glen Vliet / vocals, harmonica, soprano sax, bass clarinet, Chinese gongs, composer, arranger, producer
- John French / electric & slide guitars, marimba, bass (11), drums (2,11)
- Jeff Moris Tepper / electric & slide guitars
- Eric Drew Feldman / synthesizer, Rhodes, grand piano, Mellotron, bass
- Bruce Fowler / trombone
- Robert Arthur Williams / drums

- Gary Lucas / French horn, guitar (10)

Releases information

Artwork: Don Glen Vliet's

LP Virgin ‎- VA 13148 (1980, US)

CD Virgin - CDV 2172 (1986, UK)
CD Virgin ‎- 0777 7 87136 2 3 (2002, Netherlands) Remastered (?)
CD Virgin - CDVR2172 (2006, Europe) Remastered at Abbey Road Studios

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Doc At The Radar Station Music

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Doc At The Radar Station ratings distribution

(118 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART Doc At The Radar Station reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
3 stars I had just two albums with Captain Beefheart on it in the LP (vinyl) era: Zappa's Bongo Fury, which he guested on and Doc At The Radar Station. Trout Mask Replica was the first CB CD. That one I really can't recommend. I picked it up on the strength of it being one of his better known releases, but I just didn't care for it even though I do have a taste for weirdness in music. I think because of that I have been hesitant to add any more of his albums to my collection.

I had no hesitation to adding Doc though. If you can call a CB album accessible, this one is more so for me than Trout. For what it's worth Henry Kaiser covered three CB songs on his album of cover tunes, Those Who Know History Are Doomed To Repeat It, and two tracks were from Doc.

Doc has one of the funniest song titles I've ever heard: Making Love to a Vampire With a Monkey on My Knee. Amidst all the weirdness, there is actually a straightforward beautiful instrumental: A Carrot Is as Close as a Rabbit Gets to a Diamond. Most of this album is just plain weird though. If you don't like strange music on occasion, you might be better off passing the Captain by.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This album, the penultimate studio album from the great Captain features an angular sound, somewhat similar to what Snakefinger was creating at around the same time, but with Beefheart's unique style of poetic lyricism. The songs, as odd sounding as they are, get an amazing performance from the band, which includes long time Zappa trombonist, Bruce Fowler, the great John French and Gary Lucas, and Snakefinger sideman to be Eric Drew Feldman.

This is not the best of Captain Beefheart's final three albums (that honor goes to "Baqt Chain Puller) , which of all of his, rank as my favorites, but it still provides a wealth of listening pleasure.

A solid 4 stars!!!

Review by Warthur
4 stars A strong album from Beefheart which doesn't quite hit the standard of Shiny Beast, but gets awfully close to it. The inclusion of more catchy, almost danceable rhythms in songs such as Run Paint Run Run suggests the rhythm-dominated proceedings of the forthcoming Ice Cream for Crow, whilst several songs - Hot Head, Ashtray Heart, Dirty Blue Gene in particular - suggest a general theme of disintegrating romantic relationships. Off-kilter instrumentals such as A Carrot Is As Close As A Rabbit Gets To A Diamond show off the capabilities of the new and reinvigorated Magic Band, whose backing is as tight as ever.
Review by HolyMoly
5 stars Grade "A" Beef

I always knew this album was ranked up among my favorites by Beefheart, but after listening to it again several times just recently, I'm still surprised at how HARD, TOUGH and MEAN this album is. From beginning to end, from "Hot Head" to "Making Love to a Vampire With a Monkey on My Knee", this album is razor sharp, intense, and Beefheart's energy and focus are at unusually high levels. It's now clear to me that Beefheart and his Magic Band have never been better than they were on this album, and it is with much joy that I award it five stars.

Track by track, this thing smokes. "Hot Head" sets a four-note octave-hopping riff in motion, propelled by a Drumbo-like beat by superlative drummer Robert Williams. Beefheart sneers, howls, and growls seductively as the riff repeats endlessly, punctuated by ace slide playing by Jeff "Moris" Tepper.. "Hot Head" is catchy and inviting, and rocks like crazy. The second track, "Ashtray Heart", also benefits from a hard-charging rhythm (like many of the tracks; the energy level borders on punk rock at times), but interrupts this rhythm frequently to bring in really weird sections of "ensemble meltdown", and even a Mellotron! On this track, Beefheart's voice reaches new heights of insanity too -- imagine your cranky neighbor shouting so loud across the yard that his voice starts cracking and going into quasi-falsetto. Next up is the guitar/piano duet "A Carrot is as Close as a Rabbit Gets to a Diamond", a very pretty, short instrumental. Then it's more cranky neighbor screaming on "Run Paint Run Run" set to a galloping rhythm, colored with odd interjections by various instruments and sudden stops and starts. "Sue Egypt" is a neat change of pace, taking out drums entirely for a guitar/spoken word duet (but again with a Mellotron interlude), and Beefheart sounds no less intense even though he takes the voice down a register or two. "Brickbats" closes side one, a leftover from the Bat Chain Puller days, and it ratchets the album up a few notches on the avant-rock ladder. Mostly recited with plodding, chaotic ensemble accompaniment, until the inevitable shriek, "BRICKBAAAAATTSS!!"

Side two opens with the absolutely exhilarating "Dirty Blue Gene". Beefheart pulls out all his voices for this rapid fire assault of rollicking guitar riffs, speedy and quick-changing drums, and free-flying slide guitar, not to mention enthusiastic call-and-response shouts with the band. If there's one track on the album that represents all that makes this album what it is, this is the one. "Best Batch Yet" is more contemplative (shoot, even Slayer is more contemplative than that last song), but it's still a mind-bending maze of tricky rhythms, instruments coming in and out, and Beefheart's usual surreal lyricism. Beefheart goes back into maniac mode for "Telephone", which has such a crazed and wacky delivery, it's almost funny. This insanity is short-lived, as the one minute piece gives way to another one minute piece, the delicate solo guitar instrumental "Flavor Bud Living", executed by part-time member John French (who in the past was Beefheart's de facto musical collaborator for many years). This turns out to just be a brief breather for the climax of the album, the 6 minute hell-storm of "Sheriff of Hong Kong", where guitars rage and weave in and out without respite or mercy, drums thunder onward, and Beefheart rants and raves without caution or conscience, locking in completely with the music and bellowing with an intensity and rage that has by now become typical of this album. The hangover that follows, the closing "Making Love to a Vampire with a Monkey on My Knee", is a surreal, spooky piece of musical drama, with recitation by Beefheart (in which he uses the "F" word a couple of times, so beware kids), And lo and behold, the Mellotron is back too (thank you, Eric Drew Feldman!). The album ends on a sinister mystery chord like you might hear at the "cliffhanger" moment of a suspenseful TV show. What's next? You wonder. Flip the puppy over and start it all over again.

There isn't a track on here that I'm not uber-enthusiastic about, and I can't say that about many (if any) other Beefheart albums. Often lumped together with the two other (fine) albums surrounding it, this album stands apart from the pack as the most hard-hitting, intense album he ever did.

Review by Sinusoid
4 stars Believe it or not, this album was released in 1980.

The thing is, Captain Beefheart was never really a man of his time other than his earliest career phase (and I really like his debut, SAFE AS MILK, despite the 60's overtones). If you haven't been initiated with Captain Beefheart, he has a music style that is rough, jagged, avant-garde and seemingly difficult to digest, yet there's always a fine line underneath the chaos that keeps the music together. Stomping beats, swinging tempos, bluesy rock guitars, the occasional delve into abstract poetry; it's all here for Beefheart fans to soak up and enjoy.

Some of what is familiar Beefheart territory is best described in ''Hot Head'', ''Sheriff of Hong Kong'', ''Best Batch Yet'' and ''Run Paint Run Run'' (my overall favourite cut). There are a few others can get a little dicey. ''Making Love to a Vampire with a Monkey on My Knee'' is as weird as the title suggests as it's nothing more than mellotron washes underneath unusual fantasies. ''A Carrot is as Close as a Rabbit Gets to a Diamond'' sounds a little out of place concerning the overall style of the album (in contrast, this song is a restrained piano/guitar interlude), but warranted given that it's slotted between two rough-and-tumble numbers. And the Beefheart voice of Mr. Hyde and Mr. Hyde is in full throttle going from constipated old man to ''out-of-breath-after- getting-punched-in-the-stomach'' vocals, and yet Beefheart still makes those sound plausible.

DOC AT THE RADAR STATION is one of the more digestible Captain Beefheart albums I have come across, and considering that his trademark style is splattered all over the album, I'd say this is a good starting point for the uninitiated. This album proves that you can base yourself in avant- garde overtones and still have hooks in your music.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Beatnik-Prog. BOOM! BOP! PING! Manic is the message. Music is the king. Long live the king! Orcus is back for another stint just to say that THIS is the album that started it all for him. The album that led to his desire for more alternatives to the normal radio sounds, thanks to a fri ... (read more)

Report this review (#813476) | Posted by tehdevilsritehand | Saturday, September 1, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars captain beefheart is one of the greatest musicians in prog rock. labels don't match with his music. he played everything...fusion,jazz,rock,blues,progrock,garage...with great results. doc at the radar station was the 1st album i bought from him 3 years ago and it took me so long to get into it. t ... (read more)

Report this review (#39896) | Posted by | Thursday, July 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Wow...This is my album of the week... its fntastic...the voice, the music, the songwriting...Captain Beefheart rules!At first I thought that this is just a bad FrankZappa clone but now I see that I was completely wrong...this is authentic music, spiced with the incredible voice of the master h ... (read more)

Report this review (#33620) | Posted by | Sunday, January 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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